Donald Trump’s younger brother, Robert Trump, has died after a summer of ill health, including a sudden hospitalization only a few weeks before the president was set to give his acceptance speech to the Republican National Convention.
Robert was 71, according to The New York Times.
“It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight. He was not just my brother, he was my best friend. He will be greatly missed, but we will meet again. His memory will live on in my heart forever. Robert, I love you. Rest in peace,” the president, 74, said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
He visited his brother in New York City on Friday, one day before Robert’s death.
The Times reported that Robert had suffered brain bleeds after a fall, but a cause of death had not been made public.
Uncle Robert, we love you. You are in our hearts and prayers, always.
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) August 16, 2020
Robert Trump was an incredible man – strong, kind and loyal to the core. Anyone who encountered him felt his warmth immediately. He will be deeply missed by our entire family.
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) August 16, 2020
The more retiring Trump in a family defined by his older brother’s real estate billions and headline-grabbing ways, Robert had been living in Long Island in recent years after long working in the family business.
As the BBC wrote in 2018, Robert was “said not to court publicity and prefers a quieter life.” He told Page Six in 2016 that he was “gainfully retired.” However, he had reportedly been hospitalized for days in intensive care in June in New York City.
After news of his latest hospitalization this month, President Trump told reporters he was “a wonderful brother,” before leaving the White House to visit him in New York.
“We’ve had a great relationship for a long time, from day one — that’s a long time,” the president said then. “He’s in the hospital right now and hopefully he’ll be alright. He’s having a hard time.”
Robert was previously married to Blaine Trump for 25 years; they divorced in 2008.
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Robert and the president have two sisters: retired U.S. appeals court judge Maryanne Trump Barry, 83, and 78-year-old banking executive Elizabeth Trump Grau, 78.
The Trumps’ oldest brother, Fred Trump Jr., died in 1981 at 42 years old after years of alcoholism. (Patriarch Fred Trump Sr. two decades ago, followed by his wife.)
Trump Jr.’s daughter, Mary Trump, went public earlier this year in a scathing memoir about the president and their family — a book which also depicted the younger Robert sometimes being tormented by his brother Donald.
Robert unsuccessfully tried to fight the tell-all in court, calling it a “disgrace.”
His death shadows what was set to be an unusual if celebratory occasion: President Trump’s acceptance speech for the Republican nomination in late August, ahead of the November election against Joe Biden.
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